Gilad Anni-Padda, the Eternal Warrior, is one of Valiant Entertainment’s most interesting characters. Though his solo series had a rocky start and entered a period of limbo, Gilad returned this week headlining a new miniseries titled Eternal Warrior: Days of Steel. Set in the Middle Ages, this series sees our hero tasked with defending a baby who is destined to be a hero of the Franks. Let’s take a look at Eternal Warrior: Days of Steel #1!
Gilad has fought in hundreds of wars throughout human history at the behest of the Geomancers, the so=called “Speakers for the Earth.” Finally deciding he cannot follow these individuals blindly, Gilad retires from combat, only to be urged back into battle in order to defend a baby who will deliver the Frankish people from the Magyar hordes. Will Gilad find new resolve in this mission? Or will this be yet another meaningless conflict?
Peter Milligan takes the helm as Days of Steel’s writer. Though Milligan’s Valiant work has been a mixed bag, in this issue he hits a number of high notes, and reasserts his skill as a creator. Gilad’s inner monologue is expertly written, and helps understand the weight pressing down upon this reluctant hero. The references to real world historical events are well done, fitting the story and helping progress the narrative. We’re treated to some good dialogue as well. Regrettably, Milligan falls into the same trap as Greg Pak during the initial Eternal Warrior series, and once again tells a story where Gilad reconsiders his role as a soldier; given that this plot has, essentially, been done before (even if, chronologically, Pak’s run came afterward), I feel that it caused the narrative to drag. For readers unfamiliar with the prior series, however, the narrative hook may seem more interesting.
Artist Cary Nord returns to the fore of the Valiant Universe with his work in this issue. This is the long-hinted-at “secret project” he worked on since finishing X-O Manowar #22, and the wait was well worth it. Nord comes out swinging, providing luscious landscapes and brilliant battlefields. In X-O Manowar we only saw a few moments of Nord drawing soldiers of the ancient world, and it’s clear that this is an area in which he excels. Brian Reber, the title’s colorist and one of my industry favorites, backs up Nord’s pencils with a gorgeous array of tones; his key use of spot-color draws the eye to key pieces of each scene, and aids in the progression of the visual narrative.
Eternal Warrior: Days of Steel #1 is a great comic, and solid entry point into the Valiant Universe for new readers, while providing old fans with a gripping story featuring the Eternal Warrior. I was somewhat skeptical when this title was announced, and I’m proud to say my misgivings were unfounded. If you’re a fan of medieval action and intrigue, this is a comic you must pick up.
-exceptional artwork from Nord and Reber
-great internal monologue
-amazing medieval era battles
-rehashing plot of Gilad questioning why he fights for the Earth
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